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SA's Binder gets 2020 MotoGP ride with KTM

The Moto2 rider will partner Spain's Pol Espargaro, while Iker Lecuona has been promoted to KTM's satellite outfit Tech3 alongside impressive 2019 rookie Miguel Oliveira.

FILE: Grand Prix motorcycle racer Brad Binder. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia - KTM named South Africa's Brad Binder Thursday as a replacement for Johann Zarco in its MotoGP team for 2020, after the Frenchman quit following a string of poor results.

The Moto2 rider will partner Spain's Pol Espargaro, while Iker Lecuona has been promoted to KTM's satellite outfit Tech3 alongside impressive 2019 rookie Miguel Oliveira.

"It was clear that our plans for 2020 needed to change following our mid-season announcement (on Zarco)," KTM Motorsport director Pit Beirer said ahead of this weekend's race at Phillip Island.

"After some thought and talks we decided to move in this direction and let the young, hungry guys with good experience in the other categories of MotoGP show us what they can do."

Zarco had been contracted to race for the Austrian team until the end of the 2020 season. But since joining he has failed to adapt to the bike, resulting in crashes and poor results.

His departure, announced in August, came as a shock to the MotoGP circuit.

Zarco came into MotoGP on the back of two world championship wins in Moto2 and was seen as a potential challenger to the likes of Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.

He has subsequently earned a three-race deal with LCR Honda and is racing this weekend in Australia.